Herbs for the Immune System
Posted: February 21st, 2012
We have been seeing lots of sick people coming into the store lately. It’s ALMOST spring, so hold on, friends! Here are some good suggestions to get you through. We’ve compiled a list of useful herbs to help keep your immune system strong. Here’s what we recommend for your Cold and Flu First Aid Kit:
Considered to be one of the safest and most effective nutrients known, its benefits range from immune system defense to heart disease, and one recent study noted that higher blood levels of vitamin C might be the ideal indicator for a person’s overall health. We recommend taking 500 mg daily, in addition to your daily servings of organic fruits and veggies.
High in a variety of flavonoids, including anthocyanins and quercetin, Elderberry has shown to help maintain healthy immune function and antioxidant support. Elderberry is also very high in potassium, beta-carotene, calcium, phosphorous and vitamin C. Ongoing research in Europe on the anthocyanins, found in the purple pigment, has shown them to exhibit antioxidant activity, immunostimulant and anti-inflammatory properties, anti-viral activity, cardiovascular protection, and even stress relief. It can be taken as either a cold infusion or tincture, or made into a delicious syrup with spices such as ginger, clove and cinnamon, and honey! Don’t miss our elderberry syrup recipe on our web page.
Technically not a “vitamin,” vitamin D is in a class by itself, and its role in immune health is proven. Its metabolic product, calcutriol, is actually a secosteroid hormone that is the key that unlocks binding sites on the human genome. Those binding sites are found on many immune cells, and are involved in virtually every known major disease of humans. Current research has implicated Vitamin D deficiency as a major factor in the pathology of at least 17 varieties of cancer as well as heart disease, stroke, hypertension, autoimmune diseases, diabetes, depression, chronic pain, osteoarthritis, osteoporosis, muscle weakness, muscle wasting, birth defects, periodontal disease and more.
Echinacea is one of the most well known immune-boosting herbs, and for good reason. In addition to functioning as an effective immunomodulator, it contains anti-inflammatory, antiviral, antibacterial and antifungal properties. Polysaccharides, alkylamides and chicoric acid all help Echinacea improve the immune system’s ability to resist infections and heal wounds, and it is especially indicated for colds, influenza, infections, swollen glands, and bacterial or viral diseases.
Studies of this medicinal mushroom have identified many powerful substances, including polysaccharide beta-1,3-D-glucan, which improves immune system function by raising the body’s amount of macrophages T-cells. Because of this, it has been indicated in the treatment of everything from allergies to AIDS, and especially of cancers and cardiovascular disease, by lowering cholesterol levels and blood pressure. Other constituents include alkaloids, triterpine acids, ergosterols, fumaric acid, coumarins, lactone, mannitol, and many polysaccharides: It’s no wonder that this amazing fungus has been called “the Mushroom of Immortality!”